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SCORES EXPLAINED:

5.0 Perfect
4.5 Excellent
4.0 Very Good
3.5 Good
3.0 Fair
2.5 Weak
2.0 Poor
1.5 Bad
1.0 Terrible
0.5 Atrocious
0.0 Your Mom


Funkmaster V Reviews


7800 Rank: Not Ranked

Genre: SHMUP

Awards: None
Wait a Minute? There's Bugs in Space? WTF Did We Move Out Here, Then? Pros: Galaga is One of Best Quarter Eaters of All Time
Cons: Graphics are Unimpressive/ Games Goes to Hell at Level 10
Galaga Spelled Backwards is Agalag. So Now You Know.


Overview: Galaga is one of those arcade classics that still logs a respectable amount of playing time from bar, pool hall, and arcade patrons. It's the consummate shoot 'em up.
In fact, if you don't know what Galaga is, I kinda wonder what you are doing here. So for those in the dark, your mission is to waste alien bug buttocks with your groovy ship, and accumulate as many points as you can as the various waves and levels fly by. The 7800 is known for great classic arcade conversions, and yet our Galaga here feels a bit off. The real story is how some people swoon over the 7800 version of this game, and I'm left scratching my head wondering what I'm missing. Which camp will you be in? I dunno, but I'll explain my case forthwith.

Graphics: There is something about the graphics that has always bothered me. I don't know if it's because the ships are too blocky, or the color scheme looks washed out, the whites look gray, but something is not right. The arcade visuals are way sharper. The "boss" ships are the same size as the rest of alien horde unlike the arcade, and YOUR ship is smaller. Also, you must have bought the economy space ship this time, because your ship has ZERO pimpsauce. Instead of the blinking disco lights and funk vibe, we gots this squatty all white version. BORING. Although not perfect, the graphics of the 7800 Galaga are still serviceable. As far as I know, every type of alien bug-ship is included in this port, even those weird scorpion looking things on the higher levels. The arcade's cool level badges are also replaced by blocky numbers. Imagine all of your trophies, plaques, badges, ribbons and awards being replaced by blocky numbers... sucks, don't it?

Sound: The 7800 sound is dead on with the arcade version, although a little "tinny" or "shrill". The game delivers the same bonus round tunes and sound effects that make Galaga special. Just make sure you turn up the bass on your TV, or you will be annoyed by the high pitch of everything coming through your speakers.

Gameplay: Galaga's gameplay is great (that was almost alliteration!) And it IS great....until level 10, but more on that later. Until then, you can expect a pretty smooooooooth ride. The ship is easy to control, firing is a snap, and the alien ships behave like the arcade version. All bonus stages are included, and the game features several different flight patterns of the bad guys depending on the wave. Galaga is known for the coolest power-up of all time: the famous, "Fighter Captured" double cross. In this super sly move, you allow the aliens to capture your spaceship in a tractor beam, and when your reserve pops back up, we try to steal it back by blowing up the boss with the sticky fingers. If we are successful (careful, you can blow up your ship for a lousy 1000 points by a poor shot), our ship reunites with us. We now control two ships at once for a massive double barrel machine of destruction. I always loved this double fire power part of the game. What doesn't make me happy is the annoying slow down/jittering that happens on level 10 and beyond. When the game speeds up, the alien ships start to jitter when they appear in formation at the start of the wave. It may be forgiveable for you but it's very annoying to me. I read on a message board where someone summed this up perfectly: "The game just goes to hell."

Interpretation: Except for the game slow down and the slight oddities in the graphics, this "IS" Galaga. Bonus waves are included, the aliens vary their flight patterns appropriately, the "Ship Capture" feature is perfect, and the game features wave upon wave of space shootin' action. Also, when the game is over, it will tally your Accuracy percentage for you! Some things you just don't want to know... Your ship is smaller than the arcade version and the screen is much wider, making this game easier than the traditional quarter eater. Galaga experts could play the easy difficulty level for days on end.

Value: The game features only three difficulty levels, as opposed to the normal four with most 7800 games. And honestly, easy is WAY too easy and even "advanced" doesn't offer much push back. Expert mode feels about right. I made it to the 7th or 8th bonus stages and the flight patterns of the aliens kept changing. Even new alien ships popped up... so I guess we made a sizable dent in their armada and they had to start getting rentals from Hertz. Bonus stages feature all of the pomp and circumstance, music, and hullabaloo of the arcade version. Each challenge stage features 40 aliens flying in crazy patterns in multiple waves. A perfect score lands you big points and attention from giggling green alien babes from across the bar. Get gud, son, she wants you to flick her pathorax tonight!

Overall: Galaga is a classic. You've played it. I played it. Your mom played it. (Tell her I'm sorry that I haven't called, by the way). The Prosystem's Galaga and Donkey Kong are similar in the fact that they work just because they are two of the greatest games of all time, but these ports lack some love and are a little sloppy (Reminds me of your mom again). Casual fans, small plants, and dum dums who say Chili's is their favorite restaurant without knowing its a chain will probably adore this version. Galaga experts probably will be more grumpy about it. Where will you fall on this war? Well... I really don't care. I'm being audited by the IRS at the moment, so I have to spend my brain juice on that. Like it, love it, piss on it. You do you, pal. So anyways... do you or your mother know a good accountant?

Other Reviews:
The Video Game Critic: B
Jose Q's Emuviews: 7.4 out of 10
The Atari Times: 7 out of 10
CV's Atari 7800 Panoramic Froo-Froo: 3.5 out of 5.0 (Good)


Additional Info: I would like to take this time to thank Atari Age for allowing the use of his screenshots for this review.